So I’m back to continue with my Hollywood punker round-up, first corralled in this here post. Regarding the pics above: one of these women sang “Adult Books”, the other married yours truly. Betcha can’t guess who’s who!
1. Best GUN CLUB effort: Lucky Jim (Triple X Records, ’94). I have soft spots in my heart for every GUN CLUB record . . . except the first. This isn’t because that one’s not worthy – it is, really – but it got played to death in my household when I was a very young teen. And as they say: ya can’t go home again.
These days, I’m most taken by the later stuff. It still boggles my mind that Jeffrey – the man with Thee Lonesomeist voice in all post-punk rock – developed an individualistic and inspirational take on blues-rock gtr playing. And if you’re one of those jokers who says his playing sounded like Stevie Ray or Eric Clapton . . . well, listen closer, pal. Jeffrey always integrated lotsa folk-blues influences into his gtr sound (see his Ramblin’ Jeffrey Lee solo outing for the evidence) and he never over-played (shades of Paul Kossoff!), though he damn well had the finger agility if he’d wanted to. A man cut down in his prime, fr sure.
2. Best DILS effort: Made In Canada double 7″ (Rogelletti Records, ’79). The strength of the DILS lay in biting, finite songcraft, and their best 3-minutes was “Sound of the Rain”, included herein. Yeah you could slag em off as mere CLASH rip-offs, but in LA ca. ’79, rockin’ political pop of this caliber was kinda unheard of. And holyhell man, no American city at the time had cops more worthy of TOTAL ANNIHILATION than the fucking scum pigs down in LA. Sing it with em:
listen to the cops I wish they all were dead
listen to the planes flying overhead
listen to the sound of the loss and gain
I just listen . . . to the sound of the rain
3. Best WEIRDOS effort: Destroy All Music 45 (Dangerhouse, ’77). You might not guess it, but WEIRDOS singer John Denny is a really sweet and thoughtful guy. He used to shop in our record store in Hollywood, often making clever comments about music and once bringing this huge, dead spider up to the till (“son, I don’t think this is for sale”). He always made a point to acknowledge me, the lowly sales clerk, like the actual human being I was. I owe him some thanks for this.
Now the WEIRDOS Destroy 7″ is merely the first of a great career of bludgeon rock – one that even extended into a 90′s Flea-on-bass period! But it’s this rec that contains one of the very best chooglin’ punk anthems of all time: “Life of Crime”. God, I can almost feel the bottles breaking on my sweaty, 3am forehead during that one. Awesome.
4. Best ALEX GIBSON effort: Bpeople LP (Faulty Products, ’81). Who’s Alex, you ask? Well he was apparently in a group called THE LITTLE CRIPPLES with a young, pre-SWANS Michael Gira; he founded LA’s noir rock-experimentalists BPEOPLE; and he continued his identifiably-Alexian aesthetic through a bitchen solo EP, then in ever-so-slightly watered down New Romantic form in his band PASSIONNEL, and again solo on the soundtrack to Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia flick. Everything he did had an arcane sadness/darkness to it that places it squarely in THE TOILING MIDGETS and RIK L RIK orbit (it’s no wonder Alex played a bit of bass on that great SLEEPERS LP from ’81). The self-titled BPEOPLE LP is less experimental than their early 45/compilation cuts, and slathers the JOY DIVISION gloom on thick and impenetrable. But: there’s a solid rockin’ core buried underneath it all that’ll keep it from ever being mistaken for BAUHAUS. It’s what all so-called goth should really be aspiring to.
Hey: where’s the retrospective CD that Warning Label Records promised us a couple years back?
5. Best X effort: Under The Big Black Sun LP (Electra Records, ’83). Well their best moment certainly wasn’t the X concert my mom took me to in ’85 at Irvine Meadows, cause all I really remember was John Doe kicking hard at some manic stage dancer to get him the hell off the stage. Openers CHANNEL 3, then deep into their bighair “Last Night I Drank…” phase, left the bigger impression – but that’s a different story. So anyway . . . completely buggering all the nonsense that their individual members have talked/written/produced since: all of the first four X LPs are uniformly great, as is the first KNITTERS LP. I couldn’t really pick just one, so I let my wife choose, as even Chris D. once seemingly mistook her for Exene. Again, this is another story.